It's nice to be done.
"You know, he'll never really leave you alone."
Sherlock looked up from his phone. "Of course," he said simply. "I left prepared for that."
John shifted uneasily in his seat. Bean There was bustling that afternoon, so it was hard to have a conversation privately, which is what he wanted—but Sherlock had insisted on keeping them in public places while they weren't at the flat. Just for a little while, he'd reassured John with a gentle kiss. Just to make sure nothing too awful happens.
Sherlock had decided to wait out the queue that had formed by students coming out of afternoon classes, but John could tell he was clearly antsy for his usual fare. John watched his flatmate drum his fingers on the wood of the table, annoyed, and lean on his hand while he watched the mass of students decrease.
It's quite odd, he thought, but rather pleasant to know your best friend loves you back.
As if he'd heard the thought run through John's head, Sherlock looked at him out of the corner of his eye, chin in his hand, and smiled slightly. It wasn't intended to dazzle, but dazzle it did— John felt his neck heat up and a smile of his own light up his face.
The queue had finally cleared up and Sherlock stood. "What do you want?" he asked John.
John waved a hand. "Don't bother, I can't—"
"John. You haven't been eating regularly since I got back and you haven't had something caffeinated since 2:31 two days ago. I know you have a headache because you're doing that thing with your nose and even if you don't eat meals as regularly, I'd like you to supplement them with snacks, at least. Please tell me what I can get you." Sherlock's tone, which often had a condescending edge when he was doing his scans, was considerably gentler.
He's worried about me, John realized, covering his nose self-consciously (What am I doing with my nose that tipped him off to my headache? I'd best check that in the mirror later). "I'll take whatever you're having," John answered gratefully.
Sherlock nodded and walked over to the counter.
John's felt his pocket buzz. He reached in and pulled out his phone.
Across the street and on the bench. Come on out, he won't mind. MH
John peered out the window. Mycroft gave him a little wave.
"Sherlock's getting us some tea. Wouldn't you like to come in?" John asked when he reached the elder Holmes and sat next to him on the shiny metallic bench in front of the bank.
Mycroft shook his head primly. "I'm afraid I'm on one of those detox diets, at my father's behest for my health…and heavens knows if there is tea, sugar will follow."
John chuckled. "That's fine," he said, folding his hands into his jacket pockets.
"I trust you'll be a fine companion for my brother," Mycroft said after a moment. "Though I'm rather disappointed that I didn't win my bet."
"There will be other bets, I'm sure."
"Yes, a proposal pool has begun."
"I'm not even close to thinking about that, Mycroft. School first." John noticed Sherlock heading back to their window seat and peering around the cafe for him, looking puzzled and a little concerned. "I ought to head back. Sherlock is keeping a close eye on me these days."
Mycroft nodded. "I understand. I just wanted to tell you something, John."
John was standing. "Go ahead."
Mycroft looked at him seriously. "Trust Sherlock. Everything will be fine."
John knew what Mycroft was referring to. "I don't feel like you can say no to a bloke like Jim and just get off easy," John murmured.
"Sherlock knows what he's getting into. He decided you were worth the trouble."
John bit back a smile. "I've heard. Take care, Mycroft."
When he returned inside Bean There, a cup of coffee was sitting at his side of the table. Puzzled, John said, "I thought you were getting me the same—"
"I did. Enjoy your conversation with my brother?"
"You didn't get your usual?" John raised his eyebrows. "Not even the white chocolate biscuits?"
Sherlock sipped his coffee. "There's a lot to be said for taking chances," he responded, looking at John meaningfully.
John chuckled. "Who are you?"
"A very fortunate man."
John winked at him. "You say that, Sherlock. But all you've been doing is kissing and touching me without any formal declaration of intent." John wiped away an imaginary tear. "Starting to think you only want me for one thing. You blokes are all the same—"
Sherlock reached over and pulled John's hand away from his face, nipping at his fingers. "Be my boyfriend, John Watson. Let me love you."
John watched him, memorizing the moment— the way Sherlock's curls fell, unruly, against his skin; the way his lips left soft feathery sensations against his hand; the way his eyes were soft at the corners in new ways.
"Alright," said John, warm in all the right ways.
John awoke pressed against something warm. After a second of gathering his senses he realized he'd fallen asleep on the couch with Sherlock, wrapped in his arms while watching a program about arctic foxes. Sherlock didn't care about watching the arctic foxes but John had wanted to, and they'd settled against the couch together, warm and soft and safe, while the narrator's voice lulled them into sleep.
Sherlock's head was rolled back against the couch and he was snoring softly. John's eyes followed the line of his boyfriend's jaw and he scooted closer to him.
"I'm ready," he whispered, enjoying the privacy and secrecy of the moment. "I'm ready to do this with you."
In his sleep, Sherlock shifted and pulled John closer to him. John allowed for this cuddling to happen, enjoying the warmth that enveloped him.
Everything felt as it should be— John's fears were far away, diminished by the glow of his joy in that moment. It took us so long, but we're finally here. No one, nothing— not Jim, not time, not school, not anything— was changing that.
John, leaning his head against Sherlock's chest and closing his eyes, said the words he had kept inside for months:
"I love you, Sherlock."
Thank you all for sticking with me while I finished this, and I'm so thankful to be done.